| Hi Taylor
- Trying to get ahead of the holiday gift problems that always
seem to catch me off-guard. Family presents are fine, it's all those
work exchanges and social gatherings where I seem to spend money I
don't have. Any advice?
Hi Roxanne - I feel your pain. As a guy who prides himself on
being generous, it can be pretty frustrating to feel like your generosity
is getting spread too thin. All those Secret Santas and White Elephant
exchanges and all the rest of them, make you feel like everyone's
begging for a present. If you want to stay involved without breaking
the bank, here are a few ideas.
like crazy. For everything you feel pressured to buy, there's
probably an unopened gift sitting in some closet that another
person felt pressured to buy for you last year. There's no shame
in passing these presents along until they find the right home,
especially since many of them were bought for just this type of
impersonal gift swap. I understand the fear of looking cheap,
but isn't it better to try to find a home for something you don't
need than buy another thing no one needs? Since you're getting
a jump on this, start looking through the house for things that
are in good shape that you'd feel comfortable passing along.
2. Set a limit. If you have any influence over the person
planning a gift exchange, try to get them to set a very low spending
limit. Honestly, the less people are allowed to spend, the better
the gifts end up being. If you have to spend $5 instead of $20,
suddenly, you have to think really hard about how far you can
make $5 go. Put together a snack pack, get something interesting
at a yard sale, whatever you can think up. I promise other people
are just as eager as you are to tighten the purse strings this
time of year and will appreciate the forced savings.
3. Give in someone's honor. In years past, we've done a
little bookkeeping magic and combined our tithing and our gift-giving.
Whether through your church or a charity, your money will go a
lot further when you skip the wrapped present and make a meaningful
donation. If you already tithe regularly, and I encourage you
to do so, you can just increase those amounts by a little and
then let the recipient know you gave in their honor. People always
appreciate the gesture and I'm sure it will make you feel better
about all the money that's flying out of your bank account.
| 'Tis the season
to be mindful and purposeful about your spending, otherwise 2023 will
start with a lot of unwanted debt. Be frugal in some ways so you don't
have to feel overly thrifty, and have a wonderful holiday season!
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